Hmmm, sorry James Martin, but I can’t possibly believe you. James recently claimed on his Great British Adventure that he’d eaten the best scampi in the UK but I’ll be gobsmacked if it’s better than the dish Mr M & I shared on during a lunchtime feast looking out to the North Sea from the Saltburn’s Seaview Restaurant. In our defence we only shared so we could try more dishes on the menu, we’re not so mean that we share starter between us… read on for proof 😉
As we continue to work around the country on Your Home Made Perfect, we remain determined to try to find on point seafood gaffs to offset all our hard work. One of the homes to be transformed (you’ve watched the show right??) is up in Stockton and a quick search of the area brings up the delightful Victorian seaside town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, which apparently has a cracking seafood place right on the front. It’s up on the North East coast south west of Middlesborough and north of Whitby, which is of course the connection between James’s claim and this review – both dishes share the commonality of Whitby scampi, the best in the UK. So, I deliberately find a little Airbnb in Saltburn to allow us to scoot into the Seaview for lunch after our DIY duties are over and just before we head back on the road to Manchester.
I totally know we’re in for a right good Northern day out when we park up and walk by this foursome. Zero sunshine, grey skies, a bracing breeze, anoraks essential but there they are, snuggled up on a sea facing bench. So English. So perfect.
As we park up on the ‘top road’ along the front, there’s nothing much to see apart from sea, but I clock a distant sign saying “Seaview” so head over to it. Cue much hilarity, it’s a retirement home, not the actual restaurant. Rapidly moving on from this blonde moment, we peer over the railings to the beach below and see below us, snaking along the coast and accessible by either steep stairs or a rather fabulous funicular, a run of shops and scoffing stops framing a somewhat austere pier. Lots of dog walkers and a distinct used-by-regulars-every-day feel. How lucky they are to have this on their doorstep.
Of course we ride the funicular down to the beach, a short trip which claims the best views for miles around but actually has literally no views, as you aren’t allowed to stand up. Brilliance.
Our flying visit doesn’t allow for a bracing walk across the sands or up to the cliffs beyond to gently hike along on the Cleveland Way to the Charm Bracelet. Next time we’ll make time to walk off our lunch and grab a drink in the Ship Inn.
Enough talk of peripherals, let’s get onto the seafood! Walk this way…
To cram as much variation in as possible, we do that annoying couple thing of sharing starters. This is when the restaurant trade’s habit of grouping food in threes is a divorce instigating issue. Ever divided a scallop? Not easy.
Three plump scallops sitting atop a creamy carrot puree, sliced through with peppercorns, lip tingling pickled veg and earthy hazelnut butter. Our eyes met across the scampi starter (actually a main but requested without the chips, at £8) and that imperceptible nod of This Is Going To Be Good took place.
And oh boy, are they good. Scampi is officially the plural of scampo, the Italian name for the Dublin Bay Prawn or Norway lobster langoustine. Juicy chunks are traditionally deep-fried in breadcrumbs and served with lemon and tartare sauce. The more expensive scampi is single wholetail (single pieces), then less costly is when up to three pieces can be layered together. It goes against the industry accepted code of practice to mush more together and sell it as scampi, but it is done. And it’s awful – that soggy, wet mush you sometimes get for a £5 meal in a pub chain. Bleugh.
Not so this Seaview dish. Seriously the best scampi I have ever tasted. Wonderfully grease-free breadcrumbs, crisp and holding in all the heat of juice of the whole tail langoustine. Succulent meat you can actually bite through it’s so firm, and the taste? Out of this world. We finish it feeling completely ruined – no scampi dish may ever be this good again. Might just have to visit James Martin’s Stapylton Arms recommendation to test this out, but until that happens, my call is that the Seaview does the best Scampi in the UK!
Little extra knowledge for you – did you know it’s said that scampi was invented by a canny chef in the post-war period when supplies of lobster were running short. The story goes that Manetta’s restaurant in London improvised with langoustines by coating them in breadcrumbs and deep frying them, hence the Italian name. A new British fav was born.
When is lunch really lunch? When you have a least 17,000 prawns in it.
The main courses are as spectacular in the Seaview as the starters. There isn’t a seafood platter on the menu to test out so Mr M had his usual fish & chips and raves across the table about the crispness of the batter and quality of the cod. A win for this dish.
Me, I plump for the seafood linguine with mussels, clams, crevettes and king prawns. The amount of seafood in this dish is incredible, not like many restaurants where it’s sprinkled on top and then just pasta below, nope another pile of prawns are hidden underneath. I’m almost chocka full of seafood by the time I finish slurping up the pasta. Nearly. Such good quality, twirlable, finger lickable, beautiful stuff. I could maybe take more more chilli and garlic, but that’s just personal preference. Is it as good as the seafood special in Sugo, Manchester (review coming up next week)? Possibly doesn’t have the intensity in flavour of the sauce, but in terms of enjoyability and freshness of ingredients, absolutely.
The staff are super friendly, nothing is too much trouble (like offering the scampi as a starter instead of a main – I think they should do this ALL the time!) and the interior is fun, well executed and brilliantly suited to it’s surroundings.
We’ll be back to try more from the menu when up that way again, with more of the scampi. And not to share. OBV.
I can’t recommend a lunchtime visit to Saltburn enough, I just wish we’d had longer to enjoy a walk on the beach and more of the local shops and pubs. Quite fancy sitting on their outdoor balcony next time enjoying the views over the beach, then having a really long walk, and eating more fish n chips from the takeaway below – double seafood whammy!
Thanks for a lovely few hours Saltburn by the Sea 🙂
If you fancy a lunch or dinner at the Seaview this is their website.
Also if you like your scampi but can’t travel to the North East, this range from Whitby Seafoods which I tried last week is pretty good for a frozen range. Nice backstory too!
This is not an #ad, we paid full price and they don’t know I’ve written this, btw x